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View Full Version : Problems with buying a uke in winter



Fropa
01-27-2014, 09:26 AM
I ordered a Mainland mahogany last week from Uke Republic and I got an email from Mike that it would ship early this week. I have been reading a lot on here about the negative affects of temperatures and humidity levels and started to wonder about how well my new uke will survive the trip through the Polar Vortex from Georgia to Wisconsin. I'm sure it will spend time in unheated trucks and on loading docks during its trip. Has anyone had problems with instruments they have had delivered in cold weather?

DaleR
01-27-2014, 09:52 AM
Mike would not ship it if it were not safe. He knows. Another option is to get a quicker ship time, which he can also do! There still might be time to upgrade shipping!

Yukon Cornelius
01-27-2014, 10:02 AM
I ordered a Mainland mahogany last week from Uke Republic and I got an email from Mike that it would ship early this week. I have been reading a lot on here about the negative affects of temperatures and humidity levels and started to wonder about how well my new uke will survive the trip through the Polar Vortex from Georgia to Wisconsin. I'm sure it will spend time in unheated trucks and on loading docks during its trip. Has anyone had problems with instruments they have had delivered in cold weather?
I live in Alaska...
I used to live in Georgia...

So basically let the uke sit in the box for awhile before you open it. Then make sure that you let it acclimitize to your environment. Yes the uke will spend time in unheated trucks and what not, however if you are really worried, pay for the upgrade in shipping. Less time in transit is better. But cold weather isn't always gloom and doom. There are many threads out there on this topic. I would provide you links but I am on my phone and not possible.

vanflynn
01-27-2014, 10:35 AM
Some folks like to pick it up at the shipping depot (Fed Ex & UPS let you do this). That minimizes the time in a cold delivery truck and removes the chance of it being left on your front door when it is -35 windchill (like today!!!)

thekman
01-27-2014, 10:58 AM
I ordered a solid uke during the last polar vortex here in the midwest, and I definitely had some anxiety over it. I had FedEx hold it at the nearest location for pick-up -- as vanflynn mentioned above. I felt a lot better about it sitting in the store (and room temperature) than out in a delivery truck or on my doorstep. Good luck!

ksiegel
01-27-2014, 10:58 AM
When I bought my Kala from MusicGuyMic (who I miss very much!), he shipped it from Hawaii to Upstate NY the last week of December.

He said to let the unopened box sit in my house for 24 hours before opening it. So I did.

Haven't had a lick of trouble with that instrument.

So if MGM said that was what I needed to do, and the advice worked, I'd suggest the same to you, shipping from Georgia to Wisconsin.



-Kurt

Yukon Cornelius
01-27-2014, 11:03 AM
Some folks like to pick it up at the shipping depot (Fed Ex & UPS let you do this). That minimizes the time in a cold delivery truck and removes the chance of it being left on your front door when it is -35 windchill (like today!!!)

quick question about windchill. Would windchill effect something that is in a box? Or insulated? I do not understand windchill (I know what it means) but it is cold enough here without factoring in windchill (though it is currently 40 F).

FrankB
01-27-2014, 11:23 AM
Windchill is an indication of how quickly body heat is moved away from human skin, due to wind speeds. Car engines* and ukeleles don't care about wind chill. ;)

I've only ever used overnight delivery for finer instruments, and allowed them to sit at room temperature for a few hours. Solid woods and lacquer finishes are more susceptible than laminates and poly finishes.

* An engine will cool faster in the wind, but not go below the actual temperature. Humans and animals will feel colder than the actual temperature if their skin is exposed, or light clothing worn.

P.S. I have a uke scheduled to be delivered tomorrow, and the high is forecasted to be 16* farenheit. It's coming from Florida.....

suburude
01-27-2014, 11:34 AM
I live in Alaska...
I used to live in Georgia...

So basically let the uke sit in the box for awhile before you open it. Then make sure that you let it acclimitize to your environment. Yes the uke will spend time in unheated trucks and what not, however if you are really worried, pay for the upgrade in shipping. Less time in transit is better. But cold weather isn't always gloom and doom. There are many threads out there on this topic. I would provide you links but I am on my phone and not possible.

What he says !! I would wait a day to acclimatize !!! Patients my fiend !~! :-)

suburude
01-27-2014, 11:37 AM
Windchill is an indication of how quickly body heat is moved away from human skin, due to wind speeds. Skin and wind not Ukes !!! :-)

Fropa
01-27-2014, 11:45 AM
Thanks for the replies. My wife or I will be home when it is delivered so it won't sit on the doorstep in the cold. As much as I'm ready to start playing, I'll be patient and give it a day to acclimate to the house temps and humidity.

vanflynn
01-27-2014, 12:24 PM
It's -8F right now(actual temp) where Fropa and I live. That's still damn cold!

Don't wear out the "update" button on the shipping tracker website!

We'll need some new uke day pics when it arrives (and warms up)

Yukon Cornelius
01-27-2014, 12:54 PM
It's -8F right now(actual temp) where Fropa and I live. That's still damn cold!

Don't wear out the "update" button on the shipping tracker website!

We'll need some new uke day pics when it arrives (and warms up)

-8 is cold.
clicking that update button is frustrating.

actadh
01-29-2014, 03:34 PM
I ordered mine on the 19th when it was in the 40's. Never occurred to me to think about the weather - and then we got that extended cold spell.

Looks like mine will miss most of the frigid weather, though. It was minus 5 degrees here in WV when it was picked up in Honolulu yesterday. It is supposed to get to me tomorrow when it is forecast to be a balmy 34 degrees.

Doc_J
01-29-2014, 04:16 PM
We've had a couple cold spells across the country. I don't recall anyone (including me) talking about any uke damage (from cold) this year.
So, I guess the advice folks have previously mentioned must be working.

See if I can summarize

1. Keep it out of the cold, if you can.
2. Minimize the transit time, if you can.
3. (the most important) If it arrives cold, let it sit for about a day in the box.

Ukejenny
01-29-2014, 04:19 PM
Atlanta has been in gridlock yesterday and today. I hope Mike is okay. I'm wondering if the wacky winter weather down here will affect the ship date.

JamieWG
01-30-2014, 03:06 AM
We've had a couple cold spells across the country. I don't recall anyone (including me) talking about any uke damage (from cold) this year.
So, I guess the advice folks have previously mentioned must be working.

I didn't really feel a need to chime in until I read this, but I have had what we believe to be cold-related shipping damage on a uke. It got delayed a day, due to the last east coast storm a week or so ago, so it likely sat in a cold truck somewhere for 24 hours during a polar vortex. Of course, there is really no way though to know for sure if that is what caused the damage. Yes, I did let it come to room temperature in the packing, and it was in a good, fairly insulated case in addition to a box and packing material. I'll just add that I have shipped, and had shipped to me, five guitars/ukes, with terrible timing in the past month or so. All went through one of those below zero cold snaps. Of the five, only this one was damaged. I am still feeling heartbroken from it, as I totally love that uke, and it will have to be sent back. So my personal plan from now on is to not ship and not request shipping in winter on any wooden instruments when the temps are predicted to be in the teens and below or storms are brewing that might more likely cause a delay.
Still sad,
Jamie

RichM
01-30-2014, 03:10 AM
I didn't really feel a need to chime in until I read this, but I have had what we believe to be cold-related shipping damage on a uke. It got delayed a day, due to the last east coast storm a week or so ago, so it likely sat in a cold truck somewhere for 24 hours during a polar vortex. Of course, there is really no way though to know for sure if that is what caused the damage.

What was the nature of the damage?

JamieWG
01-30-2014, 03:31 AM
What was the nature of the damage?

The damage is what appears to be multiple hairline cracks on front and back that run parallel to the grain, plus a corner of the bridge coming up just a very tiny bit. Two of the cracks go through the finish, and two appear to be under the finish. Disclaimer: I am not an expert, so I can only describe what I see, and not diagnose why they happened, or if they are in fact cracks through the wood.

Cornfield
01-30-2014, 04:15 AM
When I bought my Kala from MusicGuyMic (who I miss very much!), he shipped it from Hawaii to Upstate NY the last week of December.

He said to let the unopened box sit in my house for 24 hours before opening it. So I did.

Haven't had a lick of trouble with that instrument.

So if MGM said that was what I needed to do, and the advice worked, I'd suggest the same to you, shipping from Georgia to Wisconsin.



-Kurt

That's what I do too. Let the box acclimate before you open it. Everything will be fine with the shipping.
I live in Illinois so I make sure I have a humidifier in every case and check them regularly.

RichM
01-30-2014, 04:27 AM
The damage is what appears to be multiple hairline cracks on front and back that run parallel to the grain, plus a corner of the bridge coming up just a very tiny bit. Two of the cracks go through the finish, and two appear to be under the finish. Disclaimer: I am not an expert, so I can only describe what I see, and not diagnose why they happened, or if they are in fact cracks through the wood.

Thanks for the additional info. Finish cracking or "crazing" is the most common damage associated with cold. As has been attested to previously, this generally happens when the wood expands more quickly in warm air than the finish, causing stress fractures in the finish. While there are no universal truths, generally speaking finish crazing will occur in random patterns, rather than exclusively with the grain. It is also quite common for the crazing to be "under the finish," meaning that the finish cracks are visible, but the finish otherwise feels smooth.

JamieWG
01-30-2014, 05:08 AM
While there are no universal truths, generally speaking finish crazing will occur in random patterns, rather than exclusively with the grain.

All of these (four in total that I can see) go with the grain of the wood. There is no crazing anywhere, that I can see.

dirtmaster4
01-30-2014, 12:11 PM
I got mine the day before Thanksgiving. It took me about two and a half hours to get home. It has some tuning peg malfunctions, but, I'm not sure if that was because of the cold or not.

actadh
01-30-2014, 01:03 PM
Mine went from Hawaii on Tuesday to Memphis on Wednesday and then spent Wednesday night in the Columbus, Ohio FedEx sorting facility. I picked it up from my local FedEx this evening so at least it was in a truck and in the terminal. and not on my front porch. My living room is slightly colder than my bedroom so the box is in there. I will bring into the warmer room tomorrow, let it sit some more, and probably open it Sunday morning simply because I do not know how cold it got in transit.

Fropa
01-30-2014, 02:09 PM
No message on my uke shipping yet so they may have had some issues from the weather in GA. Thanks for the stories about your winter deliveries and the info on crazing. I guess its a "hope for the best" situation and take the precautions when I get it.

kvehe
02-01-2014, 11:15 AM
....so if one were to be really, really afraid of having a uke shipped in cold weather, what would be an acceptable outdoor temperature? 40-50 deg F/4.4-10 deg C? That's a refrigerator temperature, more or less, a bit warmer. 50 - 60 deg F/10-15.6 deg C?

I never, ever worried about it before and haven't had a problem yet, but there's always a first time.....

Thanks.

Doc_J
02-01-2014, 02:01 PM
Here's my only anecdote on cold damage. About 4 or 5 years ago I got a severe case of finish cracking/crazing in a new uke shipped UPS ground cross-country experiencing freak lows of -20 F on the trip. This is the only time I ever had cold weather damage.


63477

actadh
02-01-2014, 07:13 PM
All is good on the shipment at the tail end of the deep freeze. I let it sit for 36 hours - 24 in the box and 12 inside the opened box while still in the inner box. My little ukulele sounds and looks fantastic.

kvehe
02-01-2014, 11:30 PM
Excellent news! Have fun!

consitter
02-01-2014, 11:47 PM
My custom was finished in January of 2011. I purposely asked the luthier to do several things with my uke to delay shipping. I asked for several of my ukulele heroes play it and he videoed them doing so for me. It took him several months to get it accomplished, and my uke arrived July of that year. It was a very difficult wait, but there were absolutely no issues with, making it worth it.

Fropa
02-02-2014, 12:06 PM
Glad yours made it safe actadh. I'll probably use about the same acclamation steps you did.

It would be hard to wait that long consitter. If it wasn't my first uke it might not be too bad. Its only been about 2 weeks so far, but was expecting it to ship the beginning of last week. I keep watching YouTube videos and really want to try what I'm seeing. Hopefully it will ship soon and arrive without any problems.

dkcrown
02-03-2014, 04:38 AM
Well unfortunately I am afraid that I have something to contribute to this thread. My William King tenor that I just sold in the Marketplace has developed a nasty finish crack during shipment. I shipped it Express mail via the USPS, but for some reason the Post office will only guarantee 2nd day from Cape Cod to Austin, TX, not overnight. I waited until a relatively warm day to ship it, 41 degrees F. I know that it had been very cold across the US while the uke was in transit, including in Austin where it was shipped to.

The buyer assured me that he waited 24hrs before opening the box. I hope that was the case.

I am sick about this. I have babied this uke during my time of ownership, keeping it properly humidified when required. Now begins the process of filing a claim with the Post Office. The only reason I sold this uke in the first place was to help pay some of my son's college expenses. I will probably sell another uke or two for the same reason, but I won't be doing it until the Spring.

These are the pics that the buyer sent to me.

Damn.

http://i1106.photobucket.com/albums/h368/dkcrown1/WKcrack2_zps48777be8.gif (http://s1106.photobucket.com/user/dkcrown1/media/WKcrack2_zps48777be8.gif.html)

dkcrown
02-03-2014, 04:40 AM
And the second.


http://i1106.photobucket.com/albums/h368/dkcrown1/WKcrack_zpsd9bb5bc2.gif (http://s1106.photobucket.com/user/dkcrown1/media/WKcrack_zpsd9bb5bc2.gif.html)

Doc_J
02-03-2014, 08:37 AM
.....shipped it Express mail via the USPS, but for some reason the Post office will only guarantee 2nd day from Cape Cod to Austin, TX, not overnight. .......

So sorry to see that uke with crack Dana. It is heartbreaking. Unreal about the postal guarantee. I would never have guessed that. Seems if they charged you insurance, it should be covered. Maybe you need to get a hold of the postmaster or someone responsible for Express Mail customer service.

Fropa
02-03-2014, 10:05 AM
Sorry to hear about your uke dkcrown. I don't think you should have a problem with insurance since it was damaged, but I've never had to file a claim.

I got an email from Mike at Uke Republic today. Because of the weather he had Mike from Mainland set-up and ship my uke directly to me. I should have it Wednesday. It will be a shorter trip from Indiana to Wisconsin so hopefully it will arrive without any problems.